MONTGOMERY, AL - The 2010 session of the Alabama Silver-Haired Legislature adjourned Wednesday, having completed its task of drafting and ranking a series of resolutions calling for action by the governor and legislature on matters of importance to the state's half-million senior citizens.
The resolutions adopted by the ASHL for consideration by the lawmakers were, in the area of senior issues:
- To pass legislation permitting grandparents raising grandchildren without formal guardianship rights to submit affidavits of their guardianship, so that they may give approval for their grandchildren's medical care, school admission and activities, government assistance papers and other matters normally granted by parents.
- To pass a law directing the Department of Public Health to require all independent living facilities for senior citizens to screen all new applicants for memory and dementia problems, and to prohibit centers not licensed to care for such patients to admit them
- To create a state interagency council for the prevention of elder abuse
- To reduce from eight to four hours the minimum duration of voluntary driver safety courses that can qualify an older driver for a reduction in auto liability premiums
- To establish a joint legislative committee on aging to focus on the present and future needs of senior citizens
- To require all long-term residential health care facilities in the state to offer patients the option of installing a surveillance or monitoring device in their room to be monitored at the facility's nursing stations
In the areas of reforms and funding, the ASHL urged the legislature to:
- Amend the state ethics law to prohibit legislators from accepting gifts from lobbyists, to prohibit PAC-to-PAC transfers and to provide the state ethics commission subpoena powers
- Prohibit texting by the driver of any motor vehicle
- Increase funding to expand statewide the Alabama Department of Senior Services Personal Choices Program that provides services to permit the elderly to remain in their homes rather than go to nursing homes
- Increase funding for the State of Alabama Independent Living (SAIL) program, which provides services to brain- or spine-injured adults permitting them to live at home, rather than in nursing homes
The ASHL is composed of 105 older Alabamians, representing each of the state's house districts. It meets annually, and its resolutions often are adopted and approved by the Legislature.